The COVID-19 Playlist: Reggae and Dancehall Songs for the apocalypse

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With folks self-quarantining and social-distancing — and all live music entertainment shut down — I’m putting together a stay-at-home soundtrack for the viral apocalypse until Protoje and the crew buss a livestream on us.

Turn your room into a dance with the sleek and portable design of this Marley Bluetooth speaker. Purchase here

Serious times: Gyptian

Untold Stories: Buju Banton

Justice: Sevana

Guide Over us: Sizzla Kalonji

Any Weather: Vybz Kartel

W: Koffee

Hol a Fresh: Red Dragon

Popcaan: Firm and Strong

Listen to your playlist with Beats by Dre Classic Black Headphones. Purchase here

I Can: Chronixx

Fresh & Clean: Jazz Elise

Babylon: Jane MacGizmo

Feeling Chronixxx? Buy a tee

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

Beat Street & Dennis Brown Tribute Concert : The Death of Vinyl and the Evolution of Reggae Music

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I took the shuttle from Spanish Court Hotel down to Orange Street, Downtown Kingston, otherwise known as “Beat Street” which runs north from the corner of Parade, last Sunday, February 23rd for one of Kingston Creative’s activities in partnership with Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, the Kingston and  St Andrew Municipal Corporation to commemorate Reggae Month.

According to Lonely Planet.com “It’s one of the great wellsprings of Jamaican music and was home to Sir Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One Records, as well as the original studios of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Prince Buster’s famous Record Shack.”

Feeling nostalgic? Get this tee here

From 1950s to early 70s, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub exploded and became a worldwide phenomenon. Record shops and studios monopolized the street and surrounding areas. Beat Street has become an important historical zone that deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a reggae historical and economic zone. 

We walked along the street and it reminded me of my days of living in New York, where they’d have the street festivals with art, food and music. Vendors were selling roast corn, chicken soup, ital stew,  roots tonic and beer while murals lined both sides.

The music filled the streets as sound systems, Soultone and Shanghai, played music of the three producers, Clement “Coxson” Dodd, Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell, and Lee “Scratch” Perry and that of Dennis Brown, who lived at “Big Yard” located at 135 Orange Street. 

This one yah name “inside the Rockers International”

 As we walked, I met Clive Randy Chin, who sat on the corner with a friend. He told me that his father’s studio  and record shop called Randy’s Group on North Parade was being honored as a musical heritage site.

Clive Randy Chin on Beat Street last Sunday celebrating his Dad’s shop being honored as a musical heritage site
at North Parade

He told me that Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Toots and The Maytals,  Dennis Brown, Lord Fraser and even the Peptones all recorded at his father’s studio on North Parade.

Most record shops haven’t survived the death of vinyl or cds for that matter but he made it clear that he’s still producing music but without the overheads—in his home studio.

The Death of Vinyl

So vinyl records ruled that era but as the years went on analog audio recordings degraded the quality of the music as vinyl records and cassette tapes don’t age very well. Did you ever notice when you played a cassette tape over and over again, it affected the sound quality?  If you like to collect vinyl records, here’s a classic by the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown, shop here

Nowadays, digital audio recordings are consistently the same sound quality because you can play and copy them endlessly, and they will maintain their original quality forever—unless you manipulate the file, of course.

 I had no prior knowledge of Beat Street or its connection to cultivating reggae and dancehall music until I walked into Trevor “Leggo” Douglas’s recording studio, aka LeggoBeast.

His close relative named, “Q”, sat at the sound machines and answered questions about the history of the studio, how it came to be and where it’s going.

We asked, who had recorded there, to which Q answered, “The better question to ask is, who hasn’t?”

Murals lined the walls of Beat Street. From Sean Paul to Big Youth, Beat Street has seen them all.

Trevor “Leggo” Douglas explained, that every great reggae artist had recorded there from Shaggy to Dennis Brown, with the exception of Bob Marley.

Leggo explained his journey to becoming the owner of the studio, from collecting bottles at dances at 13 to make pocket change, to making cassettes and then migrating to New York to run a robot taxi in order to make enough money to buy the studio equipment and ship them back home.

He then  took us to “Big Yard”, the official childhood home of Dennis Brown. In ruin, however around the back was a small room where people who knew him well lived. Dennis Brown was known for taking care of everyone in the community. They are trying to raise money to make it a museum.

Rockers International is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica.
Feel like listening to some classics? Purchase Marley Get Together Portable Bluetooth Speaker here

We then walked into Rockers International which is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica. It reminded me of the shops they used to have in HWT, that my brother used to visit on his trips home from Denmark. He would buy the latest records for his sounds system he and his friends ran.

We finished the day at Randy’s Music Group on North Parade where Randy showed all the old equipment that was gathering dust. Old posters decorated the walls and I found a Magnum Tonic Wine calendar from 2015, I had conceptualized with dancehall artist Stacious posing as an Amazonian woman with a bike man underneath, staring up at her.

Dennis Brown Tribute Concert

I headed back downtown in the evening at the Waterfront where Kristia aka @myrepeatoffender was doing an IG takeover on Reggae Month’s page.

Purchase a memorabilia Dennis Brown T-shirt here

Freddie McGregor, Julian Marley, Richie Stephens and so many other amazing artists came down to tribute Dennis Brown’s birthday.

What a great way to end Reggae Month. Can’t wait until next year!

7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference: Traditional vs. New Media

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Photo Credit: William Richards

I was invited to be a panelist at the 7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference to discuss the social and Emerging Media for the future of reggae and dancehall music. I was invited because we are currently running an influencer campaign for the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport’s Reggae Month’s activities, highlighting some of the great cultural activities and special events on the schedule.

The panelists were on the new media side: Ari Hammond and Naro Hart, Hosts, of The Fix Podcast on YouTube and representatives of traditional media: Ellen Khoelings and Pete Lilly from the popular German-based reggae magazine, Riddim Magazine. And me, the Founder of Love Not Likes, a blogger/influencer network. Although Love Not Likes is fairly new, I’ve been working in marketing and communications for over a decade and so I’m familiar with both mediums.

Photo Credit: William Richards

It was a great opportunity for me to show that they are also different kinds of non-traditional media platforms like CaribVoxx, KingstonCityLife, Haute People and LuxuryJa, dedicated to creating great local content that can also connect with the Diaspora.

Watch part of the discussion on OnStage’s YouTube channel.

Correction: YouTube is number two, not number the number one social media channel.

ABOUT JAMAICA MUSIC CONFERENCE

This is a sponsored post by The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for Reggae Month. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.


Jamaica Music Conference is the preeminent music conference that connects music artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs globally with the who’s who in the Jamaica music industry. Now in its 7th staging, the JMC provides an opportunity for independent music professionals to network and collaborate with industry peers, seasoned professionals and creatives, showcase emerging talent,and learn best practices and gain insights into the ever-changing business of music, through relevant panel discussions and interactive workshops.

Down in Jamaica Where I Born and Grow: Ode to Reggae Month

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Love Not Likes blogging network I founded recently signed on to help The Ministry of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport to spread the word about Reggae Month in the online space including social media and blogs.

The goal of Reggae Month is to attract international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world, enhance travel and tourism for the month of February, and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.

One of the bloggers was out of the country and I filled in, so I went to Montego Bay to cover the first Children of the Icons concert held in Sam Sharpe Square. The first thing I have to tell you about these Reggae Month events is that they are all FREE. It’s amazing to see the wonderful talent that exists in this country.

We traveled on the bus with the musicians who were mostly quiet and reflective. When we got to the Square, I was amazed by the set up. The backdrop was the Sam Sharpe Cultural Centre and on the side of the building was Haile Selassie looking down on us.

The acts that came on were Imeru Tafari (Ifrica’s son), Jahbari, Indie Allen (who is slated to be at the Jamaica Rum Festival March 1st, 2020, another great event put on by the Ministry of Tourism) considers himself an emerging artist but I must say he’s now my new favourite. With charisma that of a seasoned performer, his song, ” Catch a Fire” is now fully repeat on the playlist. Another amazing performer was Richie Spice, who energized the crowd. Richie Spice sang all the songs I’d hadn’t heard in years–Earth a Run Red, Brown Skin, Ghetto Girl…all of them!

Richie is the representation of everything Reggae Month represents, the brother of Pliers and has been singing since the 90’s. He’s been traveling around the world, carrying the message of reggae all the while staying true to himself. Giving the same energy that he would have given a crowd of 10,000 people, I was honored to hear his new release, “Together We Stand”.

Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition launched 02.02.2020, a palendrome day–the first one in 909 years. Photo Credit: Courtseye Visuals
Ebony Patterson’s installation was the nod to the future of reggae music. Photo Credit: Courts Eye Visuals
Diedre in Wanderland covered Reggae Month’s IG Stories for the launch of NGJ’s Jamaica Jamaica exhibition

On 02.02.2020 the first global palindrome day in 909 years, according to CNN.com, The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) and the Jamaica Music Museum along with with La Philharmonie de Paris opened the first of its kind Jamaica, Jamaica!

World Nomad contributor and international travel writer Diedre of http://www.DiedreinWanderland.com was assigned to cover the exhibition as well as the film series for the month. She took over Reggae Month’s IG stories for the day and showed what to expect from the exhibition. Check out http://www.instagram.com/reggaemonthja IG highlights to see an insider’s view of the exhibition.

Initially launched at Philharmonie de Paris in 2017 and titled after the 1985 hit song by Brigadier “The General” Jerry, Jamaica, Jamaica! examines Jamaica has become an extraordinary force in the world heritage and history of music.

From the Afflicted Yard’s photos of Sean Paul, Ninja Man and Vybz Kartel to Peter Tosh’s famed M16 Guitar and the rod that late Prime Minister, Micheal Manley stretched out to the audience as he shared the stage with music icon Bob Marley and late Prime Minister Edward Seaga during the historic “One Love” Peace Concert in Kingston in 1978, the “Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition” features rare memorabilia, photographs, audio-visual clips and art pieces that provides evidence of the potency of how music simultaneously shaped Jamaican culture while impacting world history.

Jamaican music is known world wide yet, its rich history and diversity is often overshadowed by its most famous icon, reggae superstar Bob Marley. This exhibition aims at showcasing a broader vision that has allowed the world to know the island’s music, by digging deep into its past and present in search for the roots of “rebel music”, beyond the cliché and the postcard.

The most ambitious exhibition ever staged on the topic, Jamaica, Jamaica! celebrates the musical innovations born on the island in its specific historic and social contexts, unveiling the story behind the musical genres of kumina, revival, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall – as well as the impact of the local sound system culture, street culture, and visual arts on today’s global pop culture.

You can download the Reggae Month app on the Google Play store and Apple store. There is everything from film series to lectures and concerts. http://www.reggaemonthjamaica.com

The National Gallery of Jamaica opening hours are: Tuesdays -Thursdays: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Fridays: 10 am to 4 pm, Saturdays: 10 am to 3 pm, Last Sundays: the NGJ is open every last Sunday of the month, 11 am to 4 pm. Closed to the public on the other Sundays and on Mondays and Public Holidays (Offices are open on Mondays)

The NGJ is also occasionally open on Sundays and evenings for exhibition openings and special programmes – for more information, please visit their blog regularly.

Admission:

Adults: Ja$ 400

Why use a Micro-Influencer to Showcase your Brand?

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In 2006, long before the term “influencer” was coined, I started a t-shirt line called Sprawl Tees. One of the tactics used was to invite people of influence to “rep” the brand. Everyone from musicians to socialites helped us reach thousands of people from as far as Japan. With Sprawl, I developed the brand’s story which was focused on the young, fun, hipster side of Jamaica. As a formally trained graphic designer, I designed every t-shirt. I also developed distribution lines in key areas: Kingston, Mobay and Negril. I sold online to the US, Canada and Europe.If you want to take a trip down memory lane, go here.

What is Love Not Likes?

Fast forward to present day, I launched Love Not Likes six months ago and the impact has been amazing. What is Love Not Likes? An micro-influencer/blogger-centric experiential marketing agency. We create curated experiences for YouTubers, content creators, bloggers and micro-influencers. Just for clarity, for those who aren’t familiar with the different definitions: Content creators are people who take pictures and videos, where as bloggers are those who have a website with articles but may also use imagery. Some have both photos and video, but not always. YouTubers exclusively create video content.

We’re all about inclusivity, meaning, anyone can join and be a part of the community as long as they have at least 1,000 followers. We’re a diverse group from all different niches and backgrounds, ranging from travel to beauty and lifestyle. If you want to join our community, sign up for our mailing list here.

So far, we’ve been to Monkey Island/Frenchman’s Cove and Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour. We’ve also been invited to cover events such as Kingston Creative’s ArtWalk, the opening of Gloria’s Seafood in Ocho Rios and KIG’s Jeep Wrangler Launch.

cpj glinter sutanya mchorgh

Some of the brands we’ve worked with include CPJ (Lifespan, Glinter and Energice), Those Creative People, Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour, Worthy Park, Rum Bar, Herboo Botanical, National Bakery, The Label Snob, Cafe Dolce, Oak Wine Cocktail Lounge, Sun Factory which distributes Ipanema flip flops and Grant Foster sunglasses.

Here’s what TCP had to say about working with us:

“We were looking for some great content for our social media marketing efforts, without having to do it ourselves (arrange a photoshoot, get all the talent, etc.).

LoveNotLikes helped us get great content with a variety of locations, talent and content ideas, to use without us lifting a finger.” – Marc Gayle, TCP

Here’s what full-time travel blogger Jhunelle J of simplylocal.life had to say about working with us: Through Love Not Likes, I’ve met and enjoyed the company of multiple fellow content creators. Mixing work and play has enhanced the experiences offered, while providing valuable opportunities to work directly with both established and upcoming brands

Jhunelle J. from http://www.simplylocal.life

I’ve always wanted to work with brands on social media ever since I was motivated to start a blog in 2019. Love Not Likes gave me not only my first few brand collaborations but also community where I could learn and network
with other bloggers who are inspiring and hardworking. Tahjaera of livingtheMacLife.blog

I am so happy I found this group. I met some wonderful people in similar fields and it’s been a pleasure learning about them and their journey. I also enjoy working with the brands that are affiliated with Love Not Likes. I am excited for what the future holds and other amazing trips with Love Not Likes. SueTanya Mchorgh, blogger

What is a Micro-Influencer?

We’ve helped micro-influencers, ( micro-influencers are anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000 followers) mostly under 5,000 followers, to create content for their blogs and IG pages, grow their following as well as help them connect with brands. These brands in turn have shared the content and tagged the influencers, helping them to raise their profile and followers.

In the age of the saturated influencer market in Jamaica, it’s important to establish that there are alternatives. Why pick micro-influencers to showcase your brand? Micro-Influencers offer more credibility, they’re more likely to respond and interact with their followers and guess what…build a community!

Going with a larger influencer or endorser can cost you thousands, just for one post.

So, unless you are a huge brand, that just may not be realistic or worthwhile.

A micro-influencer is much more affordable. It all depends on the number of followers and engagement.

With Instagram removing the likes button, the metrics will now be focused on shares and engagement, and ultimately conversions/sales. Bloggers also help search engine optimization and can be a permanent link to your website.

If you’re interested in partnering with us, please send an email to lovenotlikes@gmail.com. Also follow us on IG here.

Love Not Likes: Micro-Influencers and Bloggers Take on Jamaica

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I’ve been working in advertising for over 15 years, and as someone who used “influencers” (there wasn’t a name for it at the time) to sell t-shirts online for 2 years, I understand the value of an influencer.

The community is small is in Jamaica, totaling about 20-30 major influencers made up of mostly comedians, lifestyle, beauty and public figure categories.

I was nominated as a People to Watch in 2019, by Kadia Francis, aka the Digital Jamaican who scoured the internet to find micro-influencers and bloggers who write mostly for the love of it and not necessarily the recognition. A micro-influencer tends to have less than 10,000 followers but usually has an intimate community. ( I listed using micro-influencers as one of the 2019 trends in social media. Read here)

We wanted to bring everyone together to bond and network. Most of the people had the same wish–to create content (whether that be in the form of writing, taking photos or making videos, etc), and being able to travel the world while doing so.

list of Jamaican bloggers. love not likes
Love Not Likes Bloggers/Content Creators in the middle of the road at Castleton Gardens

We received sponsorship from Ion Communications and LuxuryJa.

While CPJ, our official refreshment sponsor provided us with Life Span Water and Glinter sparkling water

Photo Credit: Peter Clarke, Rocket Visions JA

Rum Cream, Rumbar rum and vodka came from Worthy Park.

Snacks for the 2.5 drive from National Bakery

Sun Factory provided us with flip-flops for the beach.

Each blogger received customized mugs with their ig handle from The Label Snob , Sharmac Graphics printed the fans for each guest, Just nuff social plan (which includes data and social media) were granted by Digicel Jamaica and TCP offered the bags to carry everything in.

Watch the video of the recap.

The bloggers paid for their transportation and lunch but received reposts and comments from the sponsors, edited photos from established photographers including Machel Witter, Peter Clarke and Darren George (contracted by our partners Ion Communications), to gather content on their behalf. We were even featured on CVM Sunrise. See the full interview below.

So the most burning questions from this experience have been, why call it Love Not Likes? In April 2019, Instagram put out that they were working on changing the platform to eliminate likes, you can read the Forbes article here.

Also, as I said earlier, many of these bloggers do it because they love what they do—sharing their go-to spots in Jamaica, or their beauty secrets, etc. However, they’ve never received corporate sponsorship or even gifted merchandise.

The list of the bloggers/micro-influencers/YouTubers who attended were:

Jhunelle Jureidini: a full-time travel blogger who finds most of the unknown places in Jamaica and highlights them.

Sue-Tanya McHorgh: a website developer and lifestyle blogger who also has an online clothing store.

Diedre McLeod: A travel blogger who teaches travelers how to travel the world on a budget.

View this post on Instagram

Anybody ever ask you why you always have ONE BAG AH TINGS in your bag? 🤣 Bae is usually guilty amirite!? * You ever checked out the things you are carrying in your bag? Like really looked at what's in your bag? What do you have languishing in there? Old receipts, snack wrappers (cuz you do your part for the environment), broken makeup, random stuff that you not sure why they're ever there in the first place? LoL I may have stopped talking about a bag and now having full-on philosophical ramblings on life 🙊. But honestly, I try to be intentional about what I put in my bag. I don't want to be literally carrying around useless baggage. And this beach bag from @thosecreativepeople can really hold ONE BAG AH TINGS! Fyi it's great for trips not just to the beach. On my last trip to the beach it really shined. It's Spacious. Great for holding towels, water shoes, food, sunscreen and more. Check my blog about "How to do One Bag Ah Tings on your next trip to Portland" to see how handy the bag is (LinkInBio or bit.ly/oneBagAhTings) And tell me if you love it! * * * * * * * 📸@rockstaar_ 👜@thosecreativepeople #gifted #sponsoredpost #iamwandering #wanderoften #tcptings #thosecreativepeople #beachbagswag #beachlovers🌴 #JamaicaJamaica #proud876 #wanderlustcollection #frenchmanscove #jamaicabeach #portlandjamaica #weekendgetaways #blackgirlstraveltoo #fabuplus #blacktraveljourney #weekendmood #whatsinyourbag #cluttered #baggage #beachlifeisthebestlife #onthebeach

A post shared by Diedre McLeod🔸Travel Blogger (@diedreinwanderland) on

Lucienne Antonio: A blogger who also can secure your next budget vacation.

Kemar Royal: a content creator/droner who lives for adventure

Ronnia Cherry, a creative with multiple interests, all surrounding creating a platform for Jamaican creatives. Learn more about her

Tashi Grant: A media maven who started her lifestyle/travel blog called The Hopper

Rachael Campbell: a travel vlogger who likes to party.

Jehmeil Shrouder: a YouTuber on a mission to be successful.

Ornella Green: A lifestyle/beauty blogger who aspires to travel the world.

So I wanted to make them feel special, i.e. find a way to show them and the world, that micro-influencers have value. Many influencers only big up a brand because they are getting paid, which sometimes loses its authenticity.

So let’s even get more pedantic, people think influencer is a dirty/bad word. What is an influencer, really?

An influencer is an individual who’s capable of affecting (i.e., influencing) people’s purchase decisions because of his/her knowledge or authority. What’s more, this individual has a following – usually on social media – in a specific niche, such as fashion, food, fitness, photography, and so on. YouTube marketing is also quite common.

Tech Jury ( see article here)

According to influencer marketing research, many companies will hire brand ambassadors to promote their products. While the most visible brand ambassadors are celebrity influencers, micro-bloggers can often get in on the action, too – they increase a brand’s visibility more locally. Another sponsored content format consists of paid for articles and blogs, which appear as editorials in an online publication.

So now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the alignment with the government’s growth strategy. Chris Dehring spoke at the Jamaica Diaspora Conference a couple of months ago and he talked about the importance of creating alternative job opportunities for young people.

The insights that came out of the trip was that most of them want to live a digital nomad lifestyle. It seems pretty simple, but when you live on an island, you tend to only think about Jamaica and even some think smaller–only Kingston and St. Andrew.

Our aim is to create a network and community with bloggers/micro-influencers who want to monetize. We’ve invited Lauren Dunn, otherwise known as Lauren O Lauren to give a masterclass at CoWork on Thursday, July 18th. Lauren has been working in Silicon Valley and has been able to grow her following and monetize for the last few years. Please call 876 881-7830 to purchase tickets.

We’re also building a community of bloggers, content creators, photographers who want to collaborate. Please follow @lovenotlikesja on Instagram or email us at lovenotlikes@gmail.com for more information.

Love Not Likes visits Kingston Creative’s Artwalk

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Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of being invited to Kingston Creative’s Artwalk. We decided to partner with them for a Love Not Likes excursion. For those who don’t know, Love Not Likes is an experiential marketing agency that creates curated experiences for photographers, bloggers and creatives who want to network and collaborate.

The bloggers and creatives were @SueTanyaMcorgh @Simplylocal.life, @youtravellucie, @just.lexi.simple, @haute_people, @astoldbynella and photographers Machel Witter of @mdwmediaja and Peter Clarke from @rocketvisionsja.

Andrea Dempster-Chung, the co-founder of the Kingston Creative movement gave us a tour and spoke about the importance to gaining support from all areas of society, including creatives.

When Andrea posed the question about how do we engage corporate, we decided that the best way was to show in a real way, not through PR or posed photographs but invite bloggers and content creators to come and enjoy the experience.

It was a lovely day, particularly because we were especially invited for lunch by FNB’s Downtown, a Jamaican fusion restaurant that houses Swiss Stores and is a gallery for resident-artist Craig Phang-Sang. They are known for their famous oxtail. This is a must-have when visiting Downtown Kingston. It was also a refuge for us during the summer heat as we were treated with freshly squeezed lemonade..

We also experienced a pop-up version of The Edna Manley Final Year exhibition, curated by National Gallery’s former director, Veerle Poupeye.

Resonances features six young artists: Trishaunna Henry (BFA Sculpture), Joni P. Gordon (BFA Photography), Leanne Mair (BFA Painting), Yulanah Mullings (BFA Painting), Mark Robinson (BFA Painting), and Keisha Walters (BFA Painting). They work in media ranging from ceramic and aluminium to wood, paper and cardboard constructions, to paper and textile collage, and ranges from miniature scale to very large. Each of the six artists makes use of the resonant potential of the object and the image to speak about more than itself and to invoke stories about social, cultural and historical subjects as diverse as the experience of the Jamaican urban environment and the car culture; the personal traumas of racism, migrant work and childhood sexual abuse; the dilemmas of genetic engineering; and the historical and contemporary cultural significance of shoes.

Veerle Poupeye

The exhibition is curated by Veerle Poupeye, an art historian specialized in Caribbean art and an independent curator and writer. Dr. Poupeye is also a lecturer at the Edna Manley College.

Best part of the day, was actually getting to hang out with Charl B. The artist behind the mural, “The Tree of Life,” located behind FNB’s Downtown, off Harbour Street. There are several on the street and we took time to take them all in.

Kingston Creative has a seven year plan to create an arts district where creatives can share workspace, network and collaborate. The long term plan is create a place similar to Wynwood in Miami but they need funding to make it happen. It seems like creating an eco-system where creatives can thrive and companies can get visibility in a heavy foot traffic area seems a good fit.

The brands that have already come on board include Red Stripe, Jamaica Observer, Jamaica Gleaner, Facey Foundation, Paperboy Jamaica and others. If you would like a mural, it can be arranged, I’m here trying to figure out how I can get one myself.

73 Vogue-Inspired Questions Answered.

I’m honoured to announce that I’m a Brand ambassador for Poppy Apparel. You can use my code “KESI” and get a 10% discount here.

So in honor of this I thought I’d do a 73 questions inspired by the popular Vogue video series, so here goes:

1. What are you most excited about these days?

Truly living my best life.

2. What’s your favorite holiday?

I want to say Christmas but it’s really Easter because that’s when Marbana is and that’s the best party of the year.

3. Favorite season?

We don’t really have seasons here but I like when its really hot and you have to turn the big fan on. If you know me well, you know I hate cold and snow.

4. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?

I hardly go anywhere tbh, I’m always working but I do love a good trip to the mountains on a Sunday.

5. What is the best activity when home on a rainy day?

I love to curl up in my bed and watch YouTube videos. I only watch the news.

6. If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be?

Honestly, I’d love to switch lives with one of the richest female billionaires in the world and I don’t mean Kylie Jenner.

7. What is the best thing that happened this year?

Being nominated as Digital Influencer by Digital Jamaican was the best thing that happened to me so far but the year isn’t over year. See the post about it here.

8. What’s your New Year’s resolution?

I promised myself I’d go harder than ever this year, so there are a lot of sleepless nights.

9. What’s your favorite exercise?

Exercise? Honestly, don’t have the time but if i had to choose, it would be swimming. I was on the swim team in high school.

10. Best way to decompress?

Honestly, write.

11. What’s your favorite country to visit?

Omg, that’s hard. I love New York but then I practically grew up there. It does give me all the feels.

Wish you were in New York? Get a mug here

12. Last country you visited?

Miami. I lived there for two months.

13. Country you wish to visit?

I’ve always wanted to go to Santorini. I believe I will live out my last days looking at that blue ocean.

Wanna feel like you’re in Santorini? Purchase a Pura Vida bracelet, here

14. What’s your favorite ice-cream?

Coffee. I’m obsessed with anything coffee.

Speaking of coffee, here are my faves:

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Dunkin’ Donuts Hazelnut Flavored

15. What makes you smile the most?

Money. Lol. SEND ME SOME

16. What’s the coolest thing in the world?

Getting DMs from people saying that you’re awesome and they love your content.

17. What is the cutest thing in the world?

Babies?

18. How do you know if you’re in love?

Don’t know her. Don’t want to be her.

19. If you could go to any concert past or present, what would it be?

I would absolutely die to see Prince in concert. Hands down. I mourned for three days when he died.

20. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A Tiffany’s bracelet. All the Jersey girls were wearing them when I was in college.

Get one like it here

21. Favorite fashion trend of all time?

I would not call myself the most fashion forward although I used to be but I did love 90’s supermodel fashion back in the day.

22. What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Eat Pray Love. I read the book first and then saw the movie. I could watch it over and over.

23. What was the movie that made you cry?

Omg. 101 Dalmations?

24. If you could make a documentary, what would it be about?

I would love to talk about the amazing content creators in Jamaica doing some amazing things. And when I say content I mean film, movies and music videos too. Not just photography.

25. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

I would love to be able to read people’s mind.

26. What is the skill still unmastered?

I still don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Long story.

27. What is the best thing that happened to you today?

The check cleared.

28. Do you like surprises?

Yes, actually my former boss gave me a birthday party in December (my birthday is in August) Wanna buy me a birthday gift? Here’s my wishlist.

29. If you could do a flash mob where would it be?

Coronation Market.

30. Do you like cupcakes?

31. Do you usually bake cupcakes?

I baked cupcakes for my daughter’s class for Valentine’s Day one year.

But, I prefer cheesecake. Buy my fave here

32. What’s your favorite desert?

Cheesecake.

More cheesecake here

33. Is there a desert you don’t like?

Vanilla cake. It’s so vanilla.

34. What’s your favorite bakery?

Anywhere that sells croissaints. There’s actually French pâtisserie downstairs from where I used to live in Park Slope in Brooklyn

35. What’s your favorite food?

It’s a toss up between Italian and sushi.

Get an Italian gift basket here

36. It’s brunch, what do you eat?

Is there mackerel rundown? Not really a fan of ackee and saltfish.

37. You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat?

Otaheite apples.

38. Favorite color?

Cobalt blue.

Buy a cobalt blue Corkcicle tumbler here

Buy a cobalt blue ring here

Buy a rare cobalt blue Chanel bag here

39. Favorite superhero?

Storm

40. What do you usually order in your coffee?

I used to drink only lattes but, sometimes you just need that caffeine so regular coffee with condensed milk.

But if I’m feeling fancy, I buy

41. Who is the last person you texted?

My former student Tashi

42. What’s your favorite activity to do in Kingston?

I love going to the National Gallery, I used to volunteer there on Saturdays.

43. What’s the next book you plan on reading?


44. What do you love in your pizza?

I’m one of those pineapple goes on pizza kinda gals.

Buy a pineapple towel here

45. Favorite drink?

Veuve Clicquot Champs

46. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Hershey’s

47. What’s your favorite band?

I’m all about Maroon 5.

48. Favorite solo artist?

Post Malone for sure. Sunflower is on repeat.

49. Favorite lyrics?

Woman’s worth

I know you’ve got a little life in you left
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left

50. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Luxurious

51. If you could master one instrument what would it be?

The camera.

52. Do you have a tattoo ?

A swallow on my left ankle.

53. To be or not to be?

That is the question.

54. Dolphins or koalas?

Koalas.

55. How do you like your coffee?

With condensed milk.

56. What’s your favorite curse word?

I don’t curse. lol.

57. What color of dress did you wear to prom?

Red velvet.

58. Diamonds or pearls?

Definitely diamonds.

Buy me some.

59. Cheap shampoo or expensive?

Herbal Essence Black Charcoal Shampoo

60. Blow dry or air dry?

Air dry. No heat on these curls.

61. Heels or flats?

Omg. Flats most definitely.

My fave flats are ballet

62. Pilates or yoga?

Yoga.

63. Jogging or swimming?

Swimming. Hate to sweat.

64. One thing you can’t live without?

My laptop.

65. What’s one cause that’s dear to your heart?

Women’s Rights.

66. Who would you want to shoot a love scene with?

Brad Pitt.

67. What’s your favorite sport?

Football.

68. Do you have a morning beauty ritual?

I use a face mask once a week. That’s it.

69. What’s your favorite thing to wear?

The colour black.

70. What’s the priciest thing you’ve ever splurged on?

I bought a pair of Prada sunglasses once. Purely overrated.

Now I wear these

71. Do you play any musical instruments?

No.

72. What is your favorite book of all time?

The Alchemist by Paulo Cuehlo. Changed my life.

73. What is something you always travel with?

Coffee Travel Mug

Kate Spade Travel Mug

Ember Travel Mug

Best Instagram Posts of International Women’s Day: The Jamaican Edition

The buzz was alive this year for International Women’s Day as people were eager to share their thoughts on this year’s theme #BalanceForBetter. Some people acknowledged the true meaning of gender balance but others had their own agenda. Here are my top picks for IG posts for International Women’s Day:

Influencer Lauren O Lauren penned a special letter to women everywhere.
Beauty queen Yendi Phillips posed topless for this year’s International Women’s Day
Daryl Vaz couldn’t wait to share his support for his wife Ann-Marie Vaz for International Women’s Day by wearing a shirt that said “I am the proud husband of Ann-Marie Vaz”
Flow Jamaica did this cool drone shot of the staff in the shape of the female symbol.
Natalie Chin, head of advertising, Marketing and Communications of The Jamaica Observer shared this sentiment.
View this post on Instagram

🌺🔥💪🏽 Everyday is women’s day. ⁣ ⁣ When I was in high school I thought love songs were too girly… like why girls have to sing love songs all the time… now I realize how important it is that women sing what’s in their hearts… because the world needs more love. ⁣ ⁣ You are just as strong in a skirt, heels and with nails did as you are with sneaks and no makeup. ⁣ ⁣ You are just as powerful when you sing about love as you are when you sing about power,pain, promise, hustle and politricks ⁣ ⁣ Greatness is ageless.⁣ ⁣ Empowered women empower women ⁣ ⁣ You can be spiritual, strong, emotionally intelligent and compassionate and still focus on your craft and get that money. ⁣ ⁣ Nuh mek nuh man tun yuh inna clown…any gift you accept make sure you can buy that for yourself and him fi know dat. #DoitDontWait⠀#independentgyal ⁣ @nts_radio live settings soon come 💥💫 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ #bossgirl #weinspirewomen #fashionnova #girlssupportgirls #girlpower #jamaica #jamaicangirls #reggaemusic #876 #876life #womeninspiringwomen #amyjade #kaliuchis #reggaeartist #sade #rihannanavy #loversrock #soul #womensmonth #wildandfree #womenempowerment #reggae #soundsystemculture #sia #rockers #rootsrockreggae #reggaerevival

A post shared by RUDIE. out now . (@ziabenjamin) on

Musician Zia Benjamin shared a video of her singing her latest song in a sarong which looked like it was on the set of her latest music video.
Banyan Books took the opportunity to reveal Carlette DeLeon’s first book called Joy of Parenting. Quite fitting for the theme of #BalanceForBetter
Naomi Cowan shared a tryptic post in celebration of winning her first award for Breakthrough Artist from The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association
General Accident Insurance company used their platform to share their thoughts on gender balance.
LuxuryJa named some #BossBabes in Jamaica from entrepreneurs to artists like Koffee, women were celebrated today.

Were there any International Women’s Day posts that you thought were really creative and fitting? Send me the link.

Most Popular Jamaican Instagram Captions of 2018

Your favourite IG captions of 2018

1.Gratitude is a Must

I want to make a better world for the generation that’s coming up, to promote love and peace, and even though I’m young, I feel that the Creator has blessed me with talent and wisdom to get the job done.”

Koffee

These are the words of Mikayla Simpson, an 18-year-old artist known to many as “Koffee”. Through her music, Koffee has an unwavering mission to empower the youths of her generation as well as to preserve the roots and culture of Jamaica.

“The thing about the song ‘Toast’ is that the meaning is actually included in the lyrics so it’s basically what I was feeling. I said exactly what I felt at the time. What I said was what was on my mind. That was the inspiration, just feel blessed ya know.” -Kofeee, Grammy Award winning Reggae Artist

One thing that made everyone want to know Koffee was her hit single ‘Toast’. It blew up at the end of 2018 as it was as everyone’s Instagram caption, playing all over the radio and “breaking the internet.”

2.Full of Sauce Like Bake Bean

[Chorus]

Fresh, breezy, a so me stay, clean

Gyal dem love mi foot inna mi straight jeans

Me full of sauce like baked beans

No underage, over 18

Cologne make your gyal a daydream

Govana
GOVANA Aka Deablo, Born Romeo Nelson is the prodigy of dancehall artist Aidonia had women all over Jamaica using that line making it the 2nd most popular IG caption of 2018.

3.No Gyal Can See Mi and Cause Problem

In 2018, this was the third most popular IG caption in Jamaica. The line is from Shenseea’s song called Shenyeng anthem. A song dedicated to her 2 million followers and fans around the world.

4.Steam Fish and Okra Body

And IG caption made popular by none other than ZJ Sparks, aka Sparkiebaby.

5.Dem Dead